Jamie Donley’s start to the 2021/22 season for the Spurs Under 18 side has been superb. The England Under 17 international who was born in Antrim, Northern Ireland, but brought up in Colchester, England, has shown great maturity during the Under 18 matches that I have seen him play this season, as well as in international games. Donley (16) is a centre-forward, but he is also very comfortable playing as a CAM as well. The first year scholar who has been at Spurs for many years, made his competitive Under 18 debut for the club in a 1-1 Premier League South draw with Leicester City, at Hotspur Way in November 2020. He scored Spurs’ only goal of that game. Donley made an additional 12 competitive appearances for Spurs’ Under 18 side that season, scoring two more goals. An excellent individual performance against AFC Wimbledon in that seasons FA Youth Cup, which saw the centre-forward score a brace, would make sure that Spurs progressed to the fifth round of the competition that season. Jamie has started the following 2021/22 season really well. He has made eight competitive appearances for Spurs’ Under 18 side so far this season, scoring a very impressive eight goals, and registering seven assists. In addition to his statistics from Spurs, Donley scored two goals from two appearances for Northern Ireland Under 19’s, and two goals from three appearances for England’s Under 17 side.
A tremendous athlete, who has a good amount of pace despite being tall, Jamie Donley has demonstrated some excellent athleticism so far this season. Strong in the air, and with a good jumping reach as well. Physical and good at holding the ball up and bringing others into play, Donley loves to drop deep into good pockets of space to really show his impressive range of passing (he has a consistently nice weight of pass, from whenever I have seen him play). He has shown that he is very clinical in-front of goal, and also that he scores all different types of goals, with some spectacular goals already scored this season. A player who likes to try and test the goalkeeper from long distance, Jamie is a good runner off the ball, and this season I have paid close attention to his impressive movement off the ball, and his willingness to make late runs into the box from playing in the CAM role. Donley is a very consistent performer and despite his great goalscoring form so far this season for club and country, he has really shown that he is a very unselfish player. He has really fine vision for a pass and he really does take responsibility with the ball. He is a creative and clinical forward who has already shown how effective him and centre-forward Jaden Williams are at linking up on the pitch in the Spurs Under 18 side.
Personally Jamie reminds me very much of Troy Parrott at the same age, in how creative he is with the ball and also his willingness to drop deep to get on the ball to try and create chances, even in these very early days. Both players press the opposition’s defence consistently well, and have a real tenacity about them. Whenever I have seen Donley play this season for Spurs and England, he has consistently shown a real desire to track back and make strong challenges to win the ball when out of possession. In addition both players have shown their ability to dribble really well with the ball, and also win a lot of free-kicks and penalties. Donley has really impressed me in all of the games that I have seen him play in so far this season for club and country, but the game against Reading, where he really showed the great all-round ability that he has, throughout the game and also that ability to link up so well with Jaden Williams, as both complimented each other for 90 minutes, was in my opinion his most impressive performance so far this season, that I have seen. Donley recently won the Spurs goal of the month competition for a simply outstanding overhead kick goal that he scored in a game against West Bromwich Albion, in October. Another excellent goal, this time a lobbed effort was scored against West Ham United during the previous month.
This has been a sensational start to the season from Jamie Donley, and I’m hoping that he’ll get a chance to play in the Spurs Under 23 side at some point this season, but all in good time. Donley will also be key for the Under 18 side in this seasons FA Youth Cup, and of course during the remainder of the league season.